MANALAPAN, NJ - April 30, 2014 - Western Vintage, who swept last year's New Jersey Sire Stakes for harness racing two-year-old colt pacers, is among the 22 eligibles for the $250,000 estimated Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Classic while 29 fillies were nominated to the $125,000 estimated Thomas D'Altrui Miss New Jersey.
Both stakes, which will be contested on August 2, 2014, Hambletonian Day at the Meadowland, are restricted to New Jersey-sired three-year-old pacers and are sponsored by the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey.
Perry Soderberg of Hightstown, NJ, who owns Western Vintage in partnership with Marvin Katz of Toronto, is pointing his son oftoward a return to the races in the New Jersey Sire Stakes, which begin on May 17 at the Meadowlands.
"Western Vintage qualified last Saturday [April 26] and was awesome," said Soderberg, a bloodstock agent. "Yannick [Gingras] just sat with him and then let him roll a bit down the stretch. He won in 1:52.4 with a 26.1 at the end, in to a pretty strong head wind. His heart rate was low afterwards and Yannick was very happy with him.
"The plan is to skip a week, then qualify again, then do the New Jersey Sire Stakes [May 17, 24 and 31] at the Meadowlands," Soderberg explained. "After that, we take it as it comes and let the horse tell us the schedule. He has been strong, happy and loves to race, so we are aiming for the big ones. The New Jersey Classic is on his stakes schedule, but we make more plans after the New Jersey Sire Stakes and see what suits us the best."
Swedish-born Soderberg, who has been evaluating horses since 1986, usually picks out yearlings for others, primarily trainerand his owners. But when no one wanted Western Vintage, he purchased the colt for himself for $7,000. Katz bought an interest last October.
Western Vintage completed his two-year-old campaign with five wins and one second [in the Metro] from eight starts for earnings of $316,838.
"The horse jogged 1:49.4 at two [winning a stakes at Lexington's Red Mile] and feels a lot stronger this year, so we are optimistic," Soderberg noted. "We, as all others, need some racing luck and the three-year-old pacers this year are good and many of them could show up. So we have to wait and see how it plays out."
This year's New Jersey Classic eligibles represent 15 sons of, three by Cam's Card Shark and two each by and . The Miss New Jersey includes 19 by , seven by , two by and one by Cam's Card Shark.
2014 Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Classic Eligibles
Beat The Drum,
Doo Wop Hanover,
In The Clear,
This Is Bill Byrne,
Whisky N Pie.
2014 Thomas D'Altrui Miss New Jersey Eligibles
Color Palette K,
Cut A Deal,
I Need Hotstuff,
Kate Can't Wait,
My Lady Day,
My Sweet Clara,
Rock N Roll Meg,
Rosie De Vie,
Val Di Noto,
Zip Zip Boom.
Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ